Pete McCarthy’s Rules of Travel

Every author needs inspiration and Pete McCarthy inspired me. McCarthy’s Bar is a fantastically gentle and funny book; it grabs you from the first page. It documents his travels along the west coast of Ireland reminding those who have been what a wonderful journey that is, and making those who have not been reach for their travel brochures.

Pete was a successful travel writer and broadcaster who travelled the world with a programme called Travelog on Channel 4. He loved his time there and said “We travelled to Zanzibar and China, Fiji and Corsica, Costa Rica and Laos; stood on the edge of volcanoes, had lunch with heroes of the Crete resistance, and got caught up in a military coup in Vanuatu”. This statement emphasises his passion for travel and his desire to get to know other cultures and people – but things always drew him back to Ireland.

He had a number of travel rules. some of which appear throughout the book. Here’s what appears, but you’ll notice there are a few numbers missing, so that’s the challenge for everyone… fill in the gaps!

1. On arrival, buy a local paper and go for a drink.
2. The more bright the primary colours and ancient Celtic symbols outside the {Irish} pub, the more phony the interior.
3. Never bang on about how wonderful some unspoiled place is, because next time you go there, you won’t be able to get in.
7. Never eat in a restaurant with laminated menus.
8. Never pass a bar that has your name on it.
13. Never ask a British Airways stewardess for another glass of wine until she’s good and ready.
16. However exotic the country, the local radio phone-in quiz induces the traveller with a sudden and dramatic downturn in the will to live.
17. Never try to score dope from Hasidic Jews while under the impression they’re Rastafarians.
19. When perusing a menu, never consider anything containing the words “goujon”, “platter” or “cheesy”.
26. Any Italian travelling abroad will be accompanied by an even more glamorous person of the opposite gender.
28. Never get drunk with soldiers.

Anyone up for the challenge? I might even accept great new rules which aren’t from Pete’s original list.

There was plan for a follow-on book about the fun side and the historical side of Northern Ireland (my part of the world). Sadly Pete McCarthy died in October 2004 before he could do it.

I thank Pete for this great book (and his second book The Road to McCarthy). Inspirational.

Compound Words

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